Drama at Passmores is taught across two hours a fortnight in Year 7 and 8 and between four and five hours if taken as a GCSE subject in Years 9, 10 & 11. A constant underpinning focus throughout all drama lessons is the need for collaboration and creative thinking, subsequently pupils work practically in groups for the majority of their lessons.

The curriculum at Key Stage Three focusses on introducing students to the subject and its disciplines, including aspects of technical theatre. Pupils learn how to explore stimuli and devise their own theatrical work, they also work with scripts and look at the demands involved in bringing someone else’s work to life on stage. They are taught how to use their body and voice to successfully communicate with an audience and regularly review their work in class feedback and evaluation activities. Homework comprises of independent activities that further explore or reflect on the learning done in class and help prepare students for the next lesson. All learning at Key Stage Three is designed to help prepare students for GCSE study if they choose Drama in Year 9.

At GCSE level students learning takes on a much more in-depth approach. OCR are our chosen exam board and the specification for GCSE is broken into three units: Devising Drama, Presenting & Performing Texts and Performance & Response (a written exam sat at the end of the course).

Devising Drama is undertaken as an examined unit in the latter half of Year 10, with students having their accompanying portfolio completed before the end of the academic year. This unit requires students to explore given stimuli (chosen by the exam board) and from there they undertake research and development activities to create a piece of theatre performed in practical exam conditions and recorded for the exam board. This work is marked by their drama teacher and moderated by the exam board.

The second unit, Presenting & Performing Texts is examined externally, requiring a visiting examiner to come and watch the pupils’ performances, usually in February or March of their final year. Pupils are required to study a text chosen by their teacher and prepare two extracts for performance to the visiting examiner. Students have the option to explore technical aspects of theatre for this unit or focus on their performance skills.

The final unit, Performance & Response is a terminal written paper sat in May of the final year. The exam features two sections; a set text study and an evaluation of live theatre. The set text study requires pupils to answer questions on an exam board chosen text, plays studied so far have included “Find Me” by Olwen Wymark, “Gizmo” by Alan Ayckbourn and “Missing Dan Nolan” by Mark Wheeller. Pupils spend time in Year 9 becoming familiar with their set text via practical study which is then revisited in Year 10 and 11 as students prepare for exams. In Year 11 all students will attend a live performance that will then form the basis for the evaluation section of their final exam. Students are encouraged to attend as many theatrical performances a possible across the three years of their study in order to help widen their experience and reference points for this exam; the department organises on average five or six trips a year to help accommodate this.